The Low Down on Salt

It may surprise you to know that your body needs a small amount of salt to work properly. But too much salt—also known as sodium chloride, is bad for your health. Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for heart disease and stroke.

The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day as part of a healthy eating pattern. On average, American adults eat more than 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day, which is significantly higher than the recommended limit.
Most of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt, and the vast majority of sodium we consume is in processed and restaurant foods. Reducing your sodium intake can help manage blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke and even help decrease fluid retention and puffiness.

Ditching the salt shaker is an obvious and significant first step, after all, table salt is approximately 40 percent sodium. However, Atlanta based, registered dietitian nutritionist Marisa Moore, owner says the salt shaker is the least of your worries. “71 percent of sodium in the diet comes from packaged and restaurant foods,” says Moore.

Only about five percent of sodium comes from salt added during